The last weeks of 2020 find small business owners reeling from a contentious election season and the continuing pandemic. As the Biden team works to implement a smooth transition, small business owners have strong opinions about what the new administration should do to help them survive in the new year.
The issues small business owners face
It will come as no surprise that topping the list of areas where businesses want help are the economic slowdown and continuing threat of pandemic-related restrictions.
"Having to deal with a potential shutdown and the continued slow business is a big concern," says Edwin Ivanauskas, owner of Last Looks FX & Beauty Supply.
With so much change, some are finding it difficult to keep up with the latest information and legislation to know how to operate in safe and legal ways at any given moment.
"The biggest issue that businesses are dealing with today is keeping up with the legislation," says Stewart Dunlop, CEO of PPCGenius.io, a pay-per-click marketing company. "It looks like the government issues new laws that concern business owners almost every day."
Strategic relief action
Like many others in the U.S., Ivanauskas wants the incoming administration to focus strongly on organizing the COVID-19 response until the virus is totally under control.
"I think the best way to handle it is thoughtful and targeted policies rather than the blanket chaos we have right now," he says. "Shut down where needed, and support those individuals and businesses affected with replacement income."
Derin Oyekan, co-founder and CMO of Reel Paper, agrees that specific and targeted actions are necessary to fend off the worst effects.
"I'm mostly concerned about the economy falling into a deep recession," he says. "Any steps the new administration can take towards mitigating that would be very welcomed."
Oyekan sees various ways the administration could fend off a worsening economic situation, including extending the Paycheck Protection Program and providing grants and loans, loan forgiveness, and tax relief to small businesses.
Vaccine approval and distribution
Strategies to keep small businesses afloat can only do so much, and many small business owners are focused on the Biden Administration's efforts to ensure a vaccine gets distributed quickly.
"I think we are at a point where the effective deployment of the COVID vaccines is our only hope of stopping the spread and fully reopening our economy," says Oyekan.
For Jennifer Roquemore, co-founder of Resume Writing Services, the benefits of a vaccine outweigh any particular action the government can take to support businesses.
"For me, the most important thing is to get a vaccine approved and distributed so that the country can get back to normal," she says. "While I do care very much about many different issues, the health of my employees, my family, and myself is of paramount importance."
Though she believes pandemic response should be the priority, Roquemore also sees how government policies affect the fortunes of business owners like her.
"Tax policy is of great importance to me because it affects my life very directly," she says. "It would be awesome if small businesses could get some kind of tax relief, or at least avoid experiencing a tax hike."
Angelique Rewers, founder of The Corporate Agent, says it's important for the Biden Administration to ensure that the wealth of government support can be equally shared by business owners.
"I want to see more government contracting opportunities for micro-businesses," she says. "The only way smaller companies will have a chance at those opportunities is if some of the red tape, such as having audited financial records, is waived for businesses below a certain revenue size."
Helping customers also helps small business
The new president and his team have their work cut out for them to help business owners of all sizes and ensure that the people who buy from and support those businesses can stay afloat too.
Shawn Dill, small business coach and co-founder of Black Diamond Club, sees the task as multi-pronged.
"If the Biden administration thinks of a plan that helps not just the employee and corporate America, but middle America, and they can solve for all three simultaneously, that will be the key," Dill says.